After Covid-19, the world changed a little bit from what it was before. And the rapid shift to remote working accelerated the digital transformation. No matter the level or industry, all business owners have realised the importance of taking what they are doing online to reach their audience or run their operations when many employees have been sent to their homes. But, of course, this vast expansion of online space has its cons. Two years ago witnessed several data breaches. The demand for securing data is constantly growing, and it’s even clearer to notice how cyber security has become more indispensable than ever before. Fortunately, it creates a new opportunity to start your cyber security career and invest in yourself to land a job.
But why should you consider a cyber security career? Or, does what you’ll get out of learning this specialisation make it worth your time?
How to Start a Cyber Security Career
- Plenty of Vacancies Posted Daily
Once the world turned to be virtual, the need for talented cyber security professionals increased. It creates an excellent opportunity for those who have the right skills. Here is the good news: there is a shortage of professionals who specialise in cyber security and can tackle everyday challenges and upgrades in this area. Honestly, there is a skills shortage in almost job markets across the globe. The field is growing so fast, and every day we hear about data compromising that presents a real threat to businesses to be able to survive. So many people are needed to bridge the gap between demand and supply in the market.
Therefore, a great job offer will come to you once you have the appropriate qualifications.
Based on a report issued by the Enterprise Strategy Group, about 70% in North America and Western Europe have been increasing their cyber security budget to invest more in people and programs.
In fact, you can taste it by yourself. Just go to any hiring websites, like Linkedin, Glassdoor, and Indeed, and have a look at how many opportunities are offered everywhere in the world. Also, you can see that most of these open positions have been posted for months. That is because the companies can’t find the right person, which could be you!
Also, the zero unemployment percentage of people who are working as cyber security adviser seems more attractive, according to the Cybersecurity Business Report.
Important: Skilled cyber security professionals know that learning can not stop. They have to challenge themselves every day and be open-minded to accept changes and new trends. They actually know it could be stressful sometimes, but it will be rewarding and satisfying.
- You Can Work Remotely
The internet touches everything in our lives, and thankfully, work is no exception. Since the Covid-19 spread worldwide, many organisations have come up with that a set of jobs can be done from anywhere.
Indeed, even employees realised how their productivity doubled when they saved their money and energy for something worthy, rather than daily commuting. And cyber security opportunities are among them. You can get hired by a company located in Dubai, and you are living on the other side of the world. It creates more extensive job markets than any other before. And it will exceed the possibility of maybe handling more than one job at once, which will perform profitability.
Important: If you’re still in the early stage of learning cyber security, it would be better to get involved in a full-time office-based job at first to gain more knowledge from seniors and know how to deal with different challenges. It’s a pivotal point in your professional development. Despite that, remotely working is available once you are ready.
- Well-Paid Job Opportunities
Cyber security opportunities for junior and entry levels will guarantee a high income, no matter where you are and what certificate you hold. In addition, the low competition between really qualified candidates creates jobs with really considerable salaries.
It’s a great potential to gain an average of $200k – $300k annually. Moreover, the average salary of a job requiring IT skills in the US is %50 higher than any other job in the private industry, a report issued by the TechHire initiative.
Now, more than any other is a good time to be in cyber security, and you will be compensated if you’ve got the right skills. There is an increasing need for businesses to invest wisely and generously in IT security infrastructure and bring highly-educated cyber security professionals to protect themselves and their valuable data from possible breaches and threats such as cyber hacks and identity theft.
In a nutshell, cyber security is a fast-growing industry, and you’ll have a lot of room for growth with it.
Important: Cyber security is the right place to start if you just finished high school and are looking to hone your skills or learn something that will help you capture such great opportunities to create that perfect pitch to generate a high income.
- No Room for Routine Work
Listen up: it’s not about sitting in a dark room trying to hack or block hacking to reach sensitive data or working for intelligence or a military body. Suddenly, everyone in the room clapped for falling down the target. These roles are definitely available, but it’s the exception, not the norm.
Most available jobs will be related to a service provider or a bank to prevent ransomware attacks. You will try to weaponise the company network to put an end to any concerns relevant to cyber crimes and set up a robust system to protect cloud sources and make the web even more resilient.
However, you can do many things if you hold a position as a cyber security professional, like a penetration tester to break one network into several systems, find any vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and then remediate these bugs. Also, you can work as a cyber security engineer where you work with firewalls and proxies to prevent any cyber-attacks coming into your company from any suspicious sources. All of that makes a cyber security career an exciting domain for everyone getting enough routine workflow that is doing the same thing every day.
Important: Before starting cyberlearning security, you need to have the whole picture of what you want to be. Many specialities are offered, and there is literally no end to what you can do as a cyber professional. But not everyone can do everything. Be specific about which field you want to be specialised in, unleash your power, and use this immense skills gap in the workforce.
- A Place for Beginners to Taste their Skills is Available
It’s not just about being a high-profile engineer. With the growing prevalence of cyber security, even small businesses need to protect the data of their clients and customers. And if you might be wondering what the fields entail, all companies, especially small and medium businesses, need compliance with specific data with safety regulations.
It builds a space for beginners to grow within these companies that need to take their businesses online. Enterprises need someone to know about safety regulations such as the HIPAA and GDPR, which are just two of many regulatory bodies demanding specific sectors. So, you can get involved in a small organisation or search for an internship to weigh your options to know whether it might be the right fit for the next step in your career path.
Important: With the fear of losing your job in favour of automation, a cyber security career will offer you long-term, future secured opportunities. It’s one of the areas in which skilled individuals have a good chance of becoming promoted and making a lot of money over the years.
How You Start Cyber Security Career
Seems you are excited enough to draw your map to plant yourself on this promising career path, right?
And you have already stumbled upon a lot of private, public, and government entities that have recently posted on their Linkedin account something like that, “We’re hiring Cyber Security Experts!” These specialities are in high demand, and all enterprises scramble to secure their system and data. So the last question you have to ask yourself is, “Is cyber security right for me?”
We’ve prepared a list of essential questions you should address before making any decisions.
- Do I have any certificates related to IT security? If not, am I willing to register in any relevant program? Do I have the capabilities, money, and time to do so?
- Am I ready to learn something new and have enough patience to search, analyse, and go deeper until I find out the core of the crisis and then generate better results?
- Have I had a real passion for technology matters? And please note that gaming is not the answer to this question. Actually, cyber security is more complicated than finding the treasure in Landstalker.
- Am I willing to invest in myself for three (maybe five) years to advance my expertise to the next level? You need to learn a lot of things, especially if your answer to the first question is no.
Still not sure if cyber security is right for you or not! Okay, let’s know the considerations and things you need to do to position yourself in this evergrowing industry in the wake of widespread cyber attacks.
- Start with Cyber Security Course
Online material is available everywhere. And when you start thinking of learning a new skill or penetrating a new area you don’t have any idea about, you will be overwhelmed. You don’t know what you have to learn first, which program you need to know, its tools and how to use it. Many vloggers will tell you that you can do it alone, and they know someone who became a genius in cyber security without taking any courses or certificates, thanks to free sources. If he could do it, you absolutely can do it.
No, forget about it. If you don’t have any IT background, the best path you should take is to search for an ideal course to know the basics of IT security and networks. The first thing you need to tackle regarding cyber security is the differences between available networks and their protocols.
The good news is almost all institutions that offer IT courses have online programs to enable you to register from anywhere and at any time.
Pro tip: Before you spend money on something you may not be interested in doing, it’s a brilliant idea to have a basic grounding in the subject matter by making use of the many free courses available online. Great Learning Academy is an incredible place to start with. It offers a handful of free classes like Introduction to cybersecurity, Introduction to ethical hacking, and Introduction to information security.
- Learn Something About Programming
“The first thing you can do is trying to pick up programming language.” John Hammond, the cyber security expert, said in a previous interview.
There are a lot of questions relevant to the area. If you are one of those who are asking if they should learn codes to be an ethical hacker or a penetration tester, there are no right and wrong answers. Some flocks said, “no man, there no need to do so!” Other people said, “Yes, you absolutely should!”
It depends on who you consult and what path he took to be an expert in his field. Honestly, both of them are right. But if you need to take advantage of high-paying and in-demand cyber security roles, listen to this: “I’d advocate that you’re going to be so much stronger with it.” Hammond said. It will help you position yourself appropriately and quickly in the job market and help you get the ball rolling.
So which one?
Python is the king here. It’s a wonderful programming language. It’s easy to learn with readability features and helpful documentation.
On the other hand, it will open new possibilities if you find that cyber security does not suit you well. For example, python will enable you to get started on Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, or Data Science. Most importantly, it’s a scripting language which means it can be ready by other programs in the background who are waiting to interpret the codes to take the proper action.
Non-IT career can begin without at least a basic understanding of python, which may help you branch out into other areas of expertise.
Programming will help you with the fundamentals of codes to know the difference between functional, conditional, and variable.
But before you go, Golang is a language you should know something about if you need to be a cyber security expert because most malware is coded using Golang. It’s a compiled language, fast, and more accurate that will give you a lot of control to know what is happening if there are any cyber crimes. Using Go language will help you do many things at once.
Both languages are fundamental; however, Go will give you the same expressiveness features python has with more powerful tools.
Pro tip: All steps should be taken together. After finishing the introduction course, it doesn’t make sense to apply for any open job opportunity, thinking that you have the right skill sets. Instead, divide your time between learning, reading and practice. On the other hand, if you find out the chance to collaborate with some cyber security professionals, don’t think twice about seizing that opportunity. It would be a significant step in your development journey.
- Develop Your Soft Skills
For many people, the attractiveness of IT professions lies in the fact that they challenge them to build social and technical talents that will allow them to grow as individuals while also improving their careers.
You’ll need many skills, including problem-solving, keeping your nerves in check while hackers are trying their hardest to sneak into the network, and looking for the solution until you find it. Being organised and having time-management skills are also critical to being a good fit for this field. And be able to work creatively and accept changes to keep yourself posted with new trends and programs.
Attention to detail is one of the skills you have to be an expert in since technical subjects are all about tiny details coming together to build something meaningful.
Then the ability to decide in real-time and bear consequences even if they would be harsh. Professional cyber security consultants need to take the initiative, keep their eye on the results, and then learn from their mistakes. Just remember that digital crimes cost organisations fortunes (Victims of cyber security crimes have lost $6 trillion in 2021. Source: 2021 Internet Crime Report)
If you believe that you may have any difficulties with the qualities that have been listed above, your first step should be to develop and enhance your personality. Learning more about your character type and how you can help yourself establish a firm foundation is a must before you ever begin.
Why is that important?
Because doing so will ensure that you are able to work without feeling stressed and communicate effectively to deal with the issue, and come up with a new strategy to solve it. And without a doubt, doing so will assist you in generating something of which you can be proud.
Pro tip: If your current company has a security department or a cyber engineer, there’s no shame in asking for advice on how to get an internship or any sources you can find to help you learn cyber security. Maybe he knows something that could help you out, or maybe not. However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for a monitor along the way.
- Know the Area of Specialization You Prefer
Once you are familiar with fundamentals, you are ready to delve into more specific details and basics of networking security, communication principles, and traffic.
Cyber security is an enormous field, and a position titled “Cyber Security Advisor” doesn’t exist anymore. Alternatively, they have been replaced with information security analysts, intelligence analysts, security testers, and cybersecurity responders. And each role has its separate responsibilities.
“So how I can even choose?”
“Know something about everything, and everything about something!”
That’s what exactly you need to do right now. But in general, if you are new to the whole thing, the available vacancies range from a help desk technician and a software developer.
After getting experience in the world of IT, you can level up to hold an information security analyst.
“In 2021, security professionals were required to collaborate more then ever in their business because of the lack of security with 3.5 million jobs around the world. This number will be double in 2025.” Source: Cybersecurity Ventures
That means you still have the chance to get involved in this area and develop at your own pace.
The advanced levels include engineering positions. In this part, you should have a robust base of vulnerabilities and cyber threats to establish a defence system against any hackers.
Remember: Information Security Analyst was ranked as the fifth-best job in technology by US News & World Report (and #38 among the 100 best jobs), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engineer was listed as the ninth-best job in terms of salary, growth, stress, job prospective, development, work-life balance, and employment rate. Interesting, right?
Also, there is such demand for incidents responder. And this role is designed to be responsible for what happens during and after the attacks. You will work to fix vulnerabilities and take the right action to minimise the consequences if the network is targeted. That will lead you to apply for other vacancies, such as digital forensic investigators, those who will work on investigating crimes and go deeper to identify the possible causes.
Afterwards, it is the potential to rise through the ranks to become a manager. Once you’ve gained sufficient expertise to assume management responsibilities, go ahead and do so. In this phase, your responsibilities will include supervising computer security as well as coordinating with other teams.
Pro tip: The common certificate to help you get an advanced level and land a cyber security job is Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer, Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), and Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE).
What certificate you should start with
The perfect place to begin is with a Sec+ certification. You may choose a secondary certificate depending on your qualifications and preference for one professional path over another.
- Expand Your Knowledge By Reading
Learning should be a mindset you should take in once you have decided to penetrate the cyber security path. Even though there is no substitution for taking courses, you will learn a lot by reading books, and they can also inspire you to look at the industry in a new way and fuel your passion for learning more about the cyber world.
Here is the list of the most insightful cybersecurity books:
- The Art of Invisibility: The title comes with the headline “The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data.” And it rings so true. Written by Kevin Mitnick, the book mixes practical steps and real-life examples about companies that have suffered badly after cybercrimes and other organisations, which represents a threat, not just at the business level but also in our daily life. The author is one of the most famous hackers, and he will take you through an exciting journey about spying and big data. It’s a finely crafted creative piece with a compelling narrative.
*If you still haven’t decided whether you want to pursue a career in cyber security or keep looking in other domains, this book is an excellent resource for you to consult.
Year released: 2017
- Cybersecurity For Dummies: This book is informative more than anything else. Pick up your pen and maybe paper or a word document to write down all ideas you see. It will be helpful afterwards. Undoubtedly, the material mentioned in the book can be your source to defend against any potential threats. The book sets the basics of ethical hacking and how to protect your network, even in your home. And it will provide you with a glossary of common cyber terms with a simple explanation.
*This book is highly recommended for cyber security beginners. It will set you on the proper path to understanding fundamental concepts of cyber security and what steps to take to become engaged in this field of work.
Year released: The last edition in 2022
Pro tip: Always check that a book is up-to-date before diving into it; the IT industry changes rapidly, and new tools and techniques are constantly being developed.
- Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking: If you’re looking for a hands-on approach to understanding social engineering and the practices of hackers rather than the practices you should develop to block hackers, this book is for you. The book was handled masterfully, providing essential insights into finely nuanced ideas as if you had been taken inside the head of a hacker.
*Don’t expect that you will find practical steps to protect your system from hacking. Instead, the book is about the methodology that extortionists adopt to breach data and the most common vulnerabilities often taken advantage of by attackers.
Year released: 2018
There is no better time than now to create your CV to apply for cyber security jobs. Keep going and remember that to become great in anything; you first need to be terrible at it.
Indeed, there are many factors to consider when you decide to go through a cyber security job. Maintain an organised approach, jot down all distinct ideas, and tackle the problem methodically. Leave a comment below with any questions you have on how to get started in a career in IT security, and we will get back to you on them.